Volume 12 | March 2019
Cedar Rapids Police Department
Monthly News and Information
Welcome to the Official Monthly Newsletter of the Cedar Rapids Police Department. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and continue to make Cedar Rapids a safe place to live, work, or visit.
Community Engagement and News
Thank you for the opportunity to connect with you through several activities and events over the past month. Here are highlights of a few of those events, along with some news and information.
The Police Department is using social media to help citizens not become a victim of property crime. The #9PMRoutine (9 p.m. Routine) is a nightly reminder to bring in valuables from vehicles, lock car doors, and keep your home locked. Locking doors and leaving valuables out of plain sight in your vehicle are great ways to deter criminals from wanting to gain access to your property. The Police Department will post a meme, picture or status on the department's Facebook page each night as a crime prevention reminder. There were 725 thefts from motor vehicles reported in Cedar Rapids in 2017.
The Cedar Rapids Police Department was pleased to host two groups from Leadership Iowa on March 8 at the Police Station. Sergeant Chris Bieber gave presentations about the department’s K9 program and Crisis Intervention team. Leadership Iowa is Iowa's premier statewide issues-awareness program for current and emerging Iowa leaders. The program brings together 40 diverse adult professionals for eight monthly sessions across the state, and provides an in-depth look at a variety of important topics including economic development, education, government, agriculture and more.

The Police Department is encouraging citizens to register their private surveillance cameras with the Police Department to help reduce crime in our community and aid in the apprehension of criminals. Camera footage has proven instrumental in solving and prosecuting crimes. This new voluntary registration program allows citizens to be proactive in their neighborhoods. If a crime should occur, the registration database will be beneficial for officers and investigators to be able to know where surveillance video may be available. To learn more, please visit the Police Department website .
Investigator Tracy Johnson received the Outstanding Service Award from the Iowa Professional Society on the Abuse of Children on February 28 at the Child Protection Center at UnityPoint Health in Hiawatha. Tracy is a sex crimes investigator with the Police Department. She is an excellent team player who utilizes the multiple disciplinary approach to meet the needs of children who may have been abused.

Coffee with a Cop was held at The Coffee Emporium and Cafe, 220 3rd Avenue SE, on February 21. Coffee with a Cop is opportunity for citizens to stop by and visit with police officers at an area restaurant, grocery store, or coffee shop. Several individuals from ARC of East Central Iowa visited with officers at this Coffee with a Cop event. Coffee with a Cop is a chance to discuss issues in a causal atmosphere.
Members of the Police Department Honor Guard traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 13 to pay respects to fallen Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner and his family. Honor Guard members also attended the funeral of McHenry County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jacob Keltner in Woodstock, Illinois on March 13. The Honor Guard receives donations from the public to help offset the cost of travel.
Be aware of a potential "Secret Shopper" scam. An officer took a report earlier this month from a victim that lost over $900 to a "Secret Shopper" scam.

The victim received what appeared to be an authentic money order in the mail and was asked to deposit it into their checking account. They were then asked to text a message that the funds were deposited. Next, they were asked to withdrawal cash from the account to make purchases as a secret shopper. They were told that they could keep some of the money in their account as a commission.
Secret Shopper Scam
Part of the secret shopper responsibilities was to evaluate stores that sell Ebay gift cards, or other retail gift cards including electronic stores, automobile parts stores, or other retail stores. The "payment" that they received would cover the costs of these gift cards and there were elaborate instructions to rate the professionalism of customer service staff, amount of time it took to get services, etc. The instructions required the person to send the numbers from the gift cards from underneath the silver scratch-off area. The victim was told to keep the gift cards as they would be used for other assignments.

Unfortunately, the financial institution contacted the victim a couple of days later indicating that the money order was not valid. And, now the communication between the victim and the alleged company that they were dealing with has ceased.
Please be careful before engaging in these types of programs. Nearly every scam has a common variable where you are asked to purchase a gift card or money card that has to be sent in for you to get your commission or reward. There are similar ploys where people claim that you owe money on your utility bill and need to give a gift card number or money card number over the phone or risk having your utilities disconnected.
Upcoming Events
The Cedar Rapids Police Department invites you to learn more about how to stay safe while running, jogging, or walking on area trails and other recreational areas. Police Investigator Sarah Lacina, who was the winner of CBS Television's Survivor: Game Changers in 2017 and completed seven marathons in seven days on seven continents as part of the World Marathon Challenge in 2018, will help you strengthen your mindset and empower you about personal safety. Class will be held on Thursday, April 4, 2019 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Whipple Auditorium at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 5th Avenue SE.
The Police Department will be participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a walk-up location at the Police Station, 505 1st Street SW and a drive-up location at Sunner Park, 701 Valor Way SW. Items accepted include prescriptions, vitamins, prescription ointments, pet medications, prescription patches, and over-the-counter medications. Items not accepted included needles, inhalers, aerosol cans, thermometers, lotions or liquids, and hydrogen peroxide. For more information, visit the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative .
Cedar Rapids Police Department Community Outreach Division | 319-286-5425 | Email | Website